90 years ago today, whistles blew around the river Somme in France as British troops prepared for an attack on German trenches. By the end of the day they had suffered 57,470 casualties. By the battle's end in November, there were over 600,000 Allied casualties, with perhaps the same number of German casualties. The Imperial War Museum
has launched an online exhibition, where you can find out more about how the battle was planned, personal stories
of those involved, and myths
about the attack. Elsewhere you can find copies of Army reports on the first day
, look at film
of the attack, diaries and letters
home from the troops, go on tours
of the trenches
, listen to contemporary songs and music
inspired by the battle, and see some more modern responses
posted by greycap
on Jul 1, 2006 -
Lost in translation.
British Comedian Stewart Lee explores comedy in Germany and finds it stymied by the peculiarities of language and sentence construction. Mark Liberman at Language Log disagrees
. And an extended essay by Josh Schonwald explores in greater depth how the German comedy scene is transitioning
(PDF) from the more traditional kabernett to a burgeoning stand-up comedy scene, which is characterized by one observer as being in "the Bob Hope phase of comedy."
posted by madamjujujive
on May 26, 2006 -
The Monks Formed in the early '60s by American G.I.s stationed in Germany
. After their discharge, the group settled in Germany to concentrate on finding a unique sound, and soon began to shave their hair into Monk's tonsures
and appear in cassocks
. One of the truely original
bands of the 60's, The Monks are now often refered to as 'proto-punk
'. The Monks experimented
fervently, developing a unqiue sound, with heavy bass, repetitive but amelodic rhythms, nursery rhyme style, yet powerful vocals
and a good helping of feedback
. They recorded only one albumn, Black Monk Time
, until their 1999 reunion
.Hear some tracks from the albumn
See and hear The Monks Live in Germany
, Also, check out Monks - The Transatlantic Feedback
, a documentary (with trailer
, though there seems to be something wrong with it). [Trivia: the song I Hate You can be heard in the background in one scene in the bowling alley in The Big Lebowski]
posted by MetaMonkey
on Apr 21, 2006 -
He has cavorted naked with Charlotte Rampling [this is VERY NSFW]
and covered himself in caviar for Marc Jacobs
, but Jürgen Teller
thinks "fashion is a wank".
Teller's first solo show in Paris is entitled "Nurnberg"
, it consists of a sequence of images (annoying Flash site, sorry)
taken at the infamous Zeppelintribune
parade ground, site of Nazi propaganda rallies
, which was designed by Hitler's favourite builder, Albert Speer. Over several months, Teller (.pdf)
has photographed the monument, the podium and the steep, ruthless steps, all of which have been left to decay. Or not. "It wasn't really maintained, but if there was a broken step, or a smashed wall, it would be mysteriously replaced with a new one." Teller's photographs show the delicate weeds, flowers and lichen [NSFW]
that have grown up around the stone blocks. "In Germany, there is a saying about letting the grass grow over things, meaning that events will eventually be forgotten".
posted by matteo
on Mar 22, 2006 -
"They are demanding that I kill the children of my people with my own hands"
On October 4, 1939, a few days after Warsaw's surrender to the Nazis, Adam Czerniaków
was made head of the 24 member Judenrat, the Jewish Council (write "Czerniakow" in the linked page's search box)
responsible for implementing German orders in the Jewish community (interactive map of the Warsaw ghetto)
. On July 22, 1942 -- Tisha B'Av
, the "saddest day in Jewish history
" -- the Judenrat received instructions that all Warsaw Jews were to be deported to the East (exceptions were to be made for Jews working in German factories, Jewish hospital staff, members of the Judenrat and their families, and members of the Jewish police force and their families. Czerniaków tried to convince the Germans at least not to deport the Jewish orphans)
. Czerniaków kept a diary from September 6, 1939, until the day of his death. It was published in 1979 in the English language as the "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniaków: Prelude to Doom
", edited by one of the most prominent
, Raul Hilberg
. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Feb 17, 2006 -
(Knock, knock) "Candygram!"
We don't know if ZDF has shown early SNL skits
(nostalgic photo here
), but German Greenpeace made a dramatic delivery to the Japanese Embassy in Berlin: a 55-foot-long fin whale that had been stranded in the Baltic. The dramatic gesture underscored the organization's contention that Japan's whaling, long defended as research, is in fact unnecessary: sufficient numbers of beached whales are available for research. The leviathan — 20 tonnes of blubber — was craned onto a truck and driven 150 miles from Rostock-Warnemünde to Berlin, and was due to be returned to the coast for study. (German-language stories on Greenpeace.de website here
, and here
, including logistical details for those curious about arranging their own special deliveries.)
posted by rob511
on Jan 22, 2006 -
once more: the entire German edition was shut down
this week over the contents of a single entry
. The parents of the article's subject, a German hacker who died in 1998 under mysterious circumstances
, are displeased with his real name being disclosed in the encyclopedia. It is now back online; however, the future of the family's efforts is currently unclear, not only due to the German order's debatable validity in the US - but also because the order was, initially at least, mistakenly addressed
to St. Petersburg, Russia, instead of St. Petersburg, Florida.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Jan 20, 2006 -
Everybody knows that gangsta rap promotes sexism, homophobia... and fascism. Take Bushido
, for instance - the Berlin rapper of Tunisian descent that all the neo-Nazis love. Confused
Well, so are the Germans
. And then we're not even talking about Fler
, whose "This is black-red-gold, hard and proud!"
nationalist lyrics never fail to piss off the German papers (in German)
, and who likes to pose in his videos with a nice symbolic eagle. (Then again, Helmut Kohl didn't mind
Still, Fler's flag-waving, eagle-loving rhymes are no match for Bushido's "Salute, stand to attention, I am the leader like 'A'"
. The A stands for Adolf, you know.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Jan 12, 2006 -
admits denies making mistake!
Starts off new relationship with conservative German chancellor by personally insulting her. "We are not quite sure what was in her head."
- a senior Bush administration official, referring to Merkel. This after Condoleeza Rice gave Merkel private assurances and made a public statement
in which she said "when and if mistakes are made, we work very hard and as quickly as possible to rectify them. Any policy will sometimes have mistakes . . . we will do everything that we can to rectify those mistakes."
Obviously, Condi was mistaken. The Bush administration does not make mistakes.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Dec 6, 2005 -
The London Cage.
Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world
. Between July 1940 and September 1948 three magnificent houses there were home to one of Great Britain'smost secret military establishments: the London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage. It was run by MI19
, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war
, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London. The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre
, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. A number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Nov 12, 2005 -
"is devoted to the postcards my grandfather collected from approximately 1906-1918. The collection is comprised of 435 postcards, most of which were produced in Russia, Poland and Germany." [coral cache
posted by strikhedonia
on Nov 3, 2005 -
Where'd the remaining 27% go.
Researchers in Germany have finished a survey that tells them how people spend their time. With an average life-span of 78 years most time is spent sleeping
with the least time spent making new people
. Number crunching this research
[direct image link] reveals:
5.12% 4 years housework | 0.96% 9 months washing and ironing |
1.71% 16 months cleaning |
2.78% 26 months cooking |
6.41% 5 years eating and drinking |
7.05% 66 months watching television |
0.53% 5 months diy |
8.97% 7 years at work |
0.96% 9 months commuting, plus |
0.64% 6 months traffic jams |
2.14% 20 months in school |
1.71% 16 hours orgasms |
0.05% 2 weeks kissing |
32.20% 24 years 4 months sleeping |
0.64% 6 months sitting on the lavatory |
0.05% 2 weeks praying |
1.92% 18 months shopping
So where does the rest of the time go.
posted by Schroder
on Oct 23, 2005 -
art of glass eye blowing was developed in Lauscha, Germany in 1835 using cryolite glass. It's a dying art, Australia has only one
practitioner in the country. This slow loading but fascinating video [sorry, Windows media]
shows the process (apparently in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea). With a family history in the trade and a pioneer
in contact lens development, this man's daughter feels that her father is in need of a bit of recognition.
posted by tellurian
on Aug 22, 2005 -
Unless you are German you may not have heard of Winnetou
and Old Shatterhand
, characters created by Karl May
. A possible D.I.D.
sufferer, he had never set foot in America and began to write his Wild West stories whilst in jail. Popular with readers across Europe, his books
have been translated into over thirty different languages. Spaghetti Westerns partly came about because early 60s films [test your knowledge]
based on his books, inspired Italian producers to invest in Westerns
. His life story
was made part of Syberberg's trilogy in 1974
posted by tellurian
on Aug 9, 2005 -
The Very Best Kind of Coupon
A brothel took a full page ad out in a German magazine with a coupon offering a half hour of free sex with a lady of the bearer's choice. Not surprisingly, the issue of the mag sold out in a single day.
posted by fenriq
on Jul 22, 2005 -
Europe's oldest known civilization discovered.
Archaeologists have discovered an ancient civilization of temple builders that existed in central Europe between 4800BC and 4600BC -- over 2000 years before Egypt. They constructed over 150 geometrically, astronomically, and spiritually aligned temples
(translated) out of earth and wood, that had diameters of up to a half a mile
. They were built by a people who lived in villages centered around communal longhouses of up to 150 feet in length. Their civilization raised large herds of animals, gathered grain with primitive sickles, made tools out of of stone, bone, and wood, manufactured pottery decorated with geometric designs
(.pdf), and created small clay figurines of humans
and animals. Only one male figurine has been found so far
(.pdf) -- the rest have been of women with large breasts -- fertility symbols -- which suggests a fertility-based spirituality, and possibly a matriarchal society.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Jun 11, 2005 -
Hitler's "fountain of life
." In 1935, Heinrich Himmer and the SS launched a network of Lebensborn maternity centers
to increase birthrates among Aryans, where German soldiers were encouraged to mate with genetically desirable local women in occupied countries like Norway. These women were given the option of raising their kids themselves or turning them over to SS-run homes where they would be "Germanized." The lives of these kids was hell after the war, when they were shunned and worse
by the Nazis' previous victims. To those who are nostalgic for the Reich, like this veritable eBay of Nazi memorabilia
, the Lebensborn program represented " wonderful social experimentation
posted by digaman
on Mar 20, 2005 -
The Edelweiss Pirates
- Not all German kids joined the Hitler Youth in the 1930's and 40's. A loosely-knit group of thousands of working-class
teenagers called the Edelweiss Pirates
existed in Cologne and nearby towns. Growing out of a youth hiking group
(rather than swing dancing
), they created their own anti-Nazi subculture through clothing and protest music. Many were arrested for tagging the city with anti-Nazi graffiti and working with the Underground--and they eventually killed the head of the Cologne Gestapo
in 1944. Orders to root them out came from Himmler himself, and some were hung
in the streets or killed in the camps. Their story is now being told in a film
playing at film festivals
around the world, including its European premiere in Berlin
a few weeks ago. But the surviving members' criminal records officially remain on the books in Germany.
posted by Asparagirl
on Mar 9, 2005 -
The Death of a Muslim Woman
In many cases, fathers -- and sometimes even mothers -- single out their youngest son to do the killing, Boehmecke said, "because they know minors will get lighter sentences from German judges."
posted by trharlan
on Mar 3, 2005 -
With a Hush and a Whisper, Bush Drops Town Hall Meeting with Germans
During his trip to Germany on Wednesday, the main highlight of George W. Bush's trip was meant to be a "town hall"-style meeting with average Germans. But with the German government unwilling to permit a scripted event with questions approved in advance, the White House has quietly put the event on ice. Was Bush afraid the event might focus on prickly questions about Iraq and Iran rather than the rosy future he's been touting in Europe this week?
posted by Postroad
on Feb 25, 2005 -
Gay outrage over penguin sex test
BBC News is reporting that gay rights activists are protesting the plans of a zoo in northern Germany to test the sexual orientation of "six male penguins which have displayed homosexual traits". Omitted from the BBC article is a summary of what the protesters are actually concerned about, but The Scotsman
posted by kcds
on Feb 14, 2005 -
Ahhhh Germany 1933
German unemployment surged to 5.04 million, the highest since the 1993 and the dark days surrounding the rise of Adolf Hitler, according to data released on Wednesday by the Federal Labour Office. Ominous sign of things to come?
posted by halekon
on Feb 2, 2005 -
“If you don't take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits”
Prostitution was legalized in Germany just over two years ago, and brothel owners, who must pay tax and employee health insurance, have been granted access to official government databases of jobseekers and have equal status with any other employer. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse. Under Germany's welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job or lose her unemployment benefit.
“There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex industry. The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is not immoral any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to benefits.”
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood
on Jan 30, 2005 -
The mystery of Stefan Mart and the 'Tales of the Nations'.
"The Tales of Nations" was not an ordinary book that you could buy in a book store, and it's mysterious narrator/illustrator disappeared into the darkness of Hitler's Germany, seemingly without a trace. Learn the background, read the stories, and view all 150 fabulous colour illustrations — "small in size, but strong in expression, each a microcosm packed with action, each a feast for the eyes like a beautifully set jewel".
posted by taz
on Jan 9, 2005 -
On the Great Atlantic Divide
Published on Sunday, October 26, 2003 by TomDispatch.com. By Susan Sontag.
I came across this piece at dailyKos
"Two weeks ago during the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Association of German Publishers and Booksellers awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade) to Susan Sontag. She was cited for standing up for "the dignity of free thinking" and for her role as an "intellectual ambassador" between the United States and Europe. The association's director Dieter Schormann commented, "In a world of false images and distorted truths, she defends the honor of free thought." In its over half-century of existence, the Friedenspreis Prize has been awarded to Chinua Achebe, Max Frisch, Jurgen Habermas, Yehudi Menuhin, and Vaclav Havel among many others.
An excerpt from Susan Sontag's acceptance speech was published today in the Los Angeles Times Book Review section, but I thought the whole speech, which focuses on the increasingly embattled relationship between Europe and the United States, or rather between much of Europe, especially the various peoples of Europe, and the Bush administration, was well worth reproducing as a whole. Near its end is a rare moment in which Sontag considers an aspect of her early life in public. Her most recent book, by the way, is Regarding the Pain of Others. What follows then, with her kind permission, is her full acceptance speech. (The title and subheads are, however, mine.) Tom "
posted by Postroad
on Jan 5, 2005 -